• Premier League

Balotelli 'could benefit from Italy return'

ESPN staff
December 18, 2012
Roberto Mancini was critical of Mario Balotelli after the striker's performance against Manchester United © PA Photos

Cesare Prandelli believes a return to Italy could benefit Mario Balotelli but warned that "the city or the country is not the problem" for the striker.

Prandelli, the Italian national coach under whom Balotelli enjoyed a superb Euro 2012 campaign, was asked about the future of the 22-year-old as speculation increases that City boss Roberto Mancini is ready to sell him.

With Balotelli understood to be appealing to the Premier League over a club fine imposed for on-field indiscipline, the rumours about his future at the club have only intensified but Prandelli - speaking to RAI Sport - was quick to note a transfer would not solve all the players problems and it was up to the player to sort out his career.

Prandelli said: "Mancini is absolutely right. Balotelli must listen to him, I agree with him. Everything depends on Mario, however. Coaches can try to stimulate and negotiate with you but everything must start from him.

"Returning to Italy could help him. It's important for him to have continuity, the city or the country is not the problem."

The comments came after Mancini made a rare criticism of Balotelli following the 3-2 home defeat to Manchester United, telling reporters at the post match press conference he expected improvements quickly. Balotelli had been subtituted moments after half-time in the derby.

He said: "I love Mario but it is important for him to start to think about his job. He has everything to play well but he can't continue to play like today. We wanted more from him. When you have a player that has Mario's quality, you cannot understand why he continues to throw it out of the window. It is incredible."

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